Metro-North derailment victim Kisook Ahn was a dedicated nurse who was driven to pursue her career in America because of her love for an autistic nephew, said mourners at her funeral on Saturday.
The funeral for Ahn was held Saturday morning at Saint Sebastian Roman Catholic Church, in Woodside, where the 35-year-old was a member.
Ahn was coming home after she had finished the night shift as a registered nurse at Sunshine Children’s Home and Rehab Center in Ossining, N.Y. when she lost her life in the Dec. 1 train accident.
Those in attendance at the service included friends, fellow parishioners as well as Ahn’s brother and brother-in-law who flew in from her native South Korea Wednesday.
Following the funeral, her brother Jin-Won Ahn, speaking through a translator and holding a photo of his sister in her gap and gown, said she “came here to pursue her dreams.”
He described his sister as a caring and loving aunt. Jin-Won said she came to America to study nursing because his eight-year-old son has autism and she wanted to learn more about it.
“[My sister] promised to me,” he said.
Jin-Won also said that is the reason she worked at Sunshine Children’s Home, where she provided care for medically complex children.
Ahn’s brother holds a photo of his sister following her funeral.
Ahn arrived in the U.S. from South Korea in 2008 as part of Lehman College’s exchange program with Sungshin Women’s University. In 2009, she completed an accelerated bachelor’s degree in nursing and received a master’s degree in the school’s family nurse practitioner program in 2012.
Catherine Alicia Georges, chair of Lehman College’s nursing department and a former teacher of Ahn, who attended the funeral, said Ahn “exemplified everything we wanted to see in a graduate.”
“[She was] somebody who was humanistic, who thought critically, who really cared about people regardless of where they come from. And that’s how we want to remember her as a truly dedicated and professional nurse,” said Georges.
In memory of her, the Lehman College Foundation and Perfect Choice Staffing, which was sponsoring Ahn for permanent residency, has established The Kisook Ahn Fund for Korean Nurses at Lehman College, which will help nursing students at the school.
Checks should be made out to “Lehman College Foundation/Kisook-Ahn” and sent to: Lehman College Foundation, Shuster Hall 310, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468.
Jin-Won said he “was deeply impressed” by all the people, including co-workers and classmates, who came to the funeral Saturday.
The family plans on having a funeral service for Ahn in South Korea after bringing her cremated remains there, said Jin-Won.
When asked if he was planning to file legal action against the MTA, Jin-Won said he is “consulting with a few lawyers.”
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